NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Get ready for Bloomberg 2020.
Two apologies in one week, including saying he was wrong for supporting the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-risk policy, were just precursors to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s entry into the presidential race, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer learned Monday.
It seems like Bloomberg really is ready to throw his hat into the presidential ring. Several sources close to the former mayor said a formal announcement could come in a matter of days.
Bradley Tusk, a Bloomberg adviser who ran some of his mayoral campaigns, said this time is not like all the other times the self made billionaire flirted with running.
“They’ve always before been intellectual exercises,” Tusk said. “But in terms of tangible acts like filing for the ballot, taking out $100 million in digital ads already, going out and sort of dealing with public positions that you might want to clarify your views on, none of that’s happened in the previous times.”
But it wasn’t just a clarification when Bloomberg took the stage at the Christian Cultural Center in East New York, Brooklyn, on Sunday and said he made a mistake in backing so wholeheartedly the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy that gave cops the right to stop anyone suspected of a crime.
Web Extra: Urban Affairs Expert Mark Peters Talks Bloomberg Apology:
“I can’t change history. However, today I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong and I’m sorry,” Bloomberg said.
It was a bombshell. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who told Bloomberg it would take more than one speech to win forgiveness, said he would use Bloomberg’s about face to help end the policy nationally.
“Even Bloomberg, arguably the most notable stop-and-frisk mayor, said he’s wrong, it gives a real energy to try and shut it down,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton pointed out that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have also taken questionable criminal justice positions that make them flawed candidates. Kramer asked the reverend if he could get by the flaws.
“I’m thinking about it,” Sharpton said.
But how will Bloomberg’s about face be seen across the country, particularly in Arkansas and Alabama, where he has filed?
“There are some people who will never forgive him and then there are others who will. In the church communities and the faith communities, particularly in the deep South, he’s got a higher probability of being forgiven than in some urban centers. That’s a good place to start,” political consultant Hank Sheinkopf said.
“I think it’s a big joke. If he thought of his decision before he wouldn’t have said it,” said Elbaunique Gonzalez of Chelsea.
“I don’t think anything’s going to help him in this situation. I think that he’s getting in a little too late,” Richard Bruzzi added.
“I think it will help him run for president. I think it’s stupid. Stop and frisk stopped a lot of crime,” said Michael Mann of the Upper West Side.
“Honest to God, I wish he’d applied in the Republican primary,” another person said. “He might have a chance of hurting Trump.”
People close to Bloomberg said they think the apology on stop and frisk could also give them an opening to tell voters about Bloomberg’s record on many other issues they see as positives, like stopping the flow of illegal guns, a smoking ban, climate change, and on and on.